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Women of Lansing: Lysne Tait

You may know Lysne Tait from seeing her at events around Lansing through all of her volunteering, you may know her as co-founder of “Helping Women Period,” running events to raise money to buy feminine hygiene projects for women who are homeless, or you may even be unknowingly involved with her through the ever-growing Facebook networking group, “Not Your Mother’s Networking Group.” If you don’t know her at all, you definitely should because she is a woman who will connect you to who you need and give you some of the best advice in the world, not to mention she is just a great person in general, and especially great to grab a cup of coffee with! She shares some of her wisdom and experience in this blog.

“I started a facebook group called Not Your Mother’s Networking Group and it was supposed to be just for introverts and people who were in nontraditional roles and didn’t get a chance to get out and network with other people. It was only for women. So we started, that was October 2015, and I have two other admins for that groups, but we’re now at 15,000 women and it’s just either working or living within twenty miles of Lansing,” Tait said when we met for coffee. She refers to the group as the “pink google,” a great description for a welcoming local search tool.

Lysne’s entire demeanor of calm and collectiveness showed throughout our interview together. She is a wise woman who knows how share positivity as well as realism: “I’m a very laid back, very calm person and I’m a very big picture person.” Her personality flows into her work and the expectations she has for her networking group as she says, “of course that’s the way it’s supposed to go because this is what we’re doing. With ‘Not Your Mother’s’ group, the other admins would be like ‘oh my gosh we’re at 10,000,’ or whatever number and I’m like, ‘good.’ It’s not like we tried or did any advertising, we don’t do that at all. when I tell people I’m like ‘oh have you tried this group,’ and the people now are like ‘oh, I know that group, I love that group.’ ”

The advertising done is by word of mouth because this webpage started a community. Success is not surprising because the group it is rooted in women helping women and forming that network.

Lysne as a whole has kept her core values throughout life: “my parents were hippies and they were very into letting us do our own thing… exploring things on our own and stuff like that,” which she has carried into her adult, or that is, older child, life: “I’m 49, I just had a birthday, I cannot believe [it], I don’t feel like a grownup.” She is full of willpower and realism, qualities that are grounded. On living life, she says, “My mother-in-law used to say ‘I’m so lazy that what needs to be done will get done,’ and I don’t think it’s lazy, it’s how I live my life. What needs to get done will get done.”

She handles life situations by setting realistic goals while still having that big picture mindset: “you [say], what can I do, what do I have control of in my life right now, even if it’s just washing the dishes, it’s a project that you started and completed and then something is done, I can check something off my list. Or you write a list and the first thing to check off is write a list. Mini goals is how I do that.” By staying grounded in where you are in life, so many things can be accomplished. When those tasks or little things in life are accomplished, the larger goals seem more obtainable and you know you are capable of accomplishing things.

On how she empowers other women, Lysne says, “I think supporting other people in what they do is really important. And saying thank you to people. You feel so invisible, I think, and if somebody says I appreciate what you did, it’s like oh, somebody noticed me. Even if you just thank somebody for opening the door or the little things to kind of keep pushing people. I think that’s it. I try to support women who own businesses all the time and the whole issue of connecting people is the best way to empower people, is by playing matchmaker.” Lysne has shown over and over how she uses her connections and her love to connect others to what and who they need.

When asked what being a woman means to her, Lysne had a couple responses. She loves to feed and take care of people and is proud of that in her gender. Gender is a common conversation about her house because of a son who identifies as queer and another son who is studying critical ethnic studies at his university. In response, Lysne says, “the conversations in our house are often about gender so it’s a question that’s been rolling around and I don’t know really how to answer it. I’m glad I am who I am.”